5 Ways to Create a Christmas Retail Rush
Children may dream of lots of presents and Father Christmas, but for retailers, there’s only one vision that matters during the Christmas season; the sales graph. And as the Christmas holiday season is make or break time for many small businesses, the overwhelming question is how to get more Christmas retail sales and make that graph climb as steeply as possible.
The obvious answer to “how to get more sales” is to get more customers. Assuming you have a quality product or service, the more people who see or experience what you have to offer the more sales you’ll make.
To do that, though, you have to get potential customers into your store. With a little effort and some ingenuity, that’s not as hard as you think. Use one or more of these ideas to create your own Christmas retail rush:
1) Have a sale.
As obvious as this is, consider this: pretty well every retailer of every size has some kind of Christmas retail season sale - because they work. What if you didn't just have a sale but had one of the sales that just about everyone wanted to attend? How? Keep these tips in mind:
Offer one big bargain a day. Offering big discounts (30% or more) on someone well-known item each day to bring Christmas shoppers in can work for you if you have well-known brand merchandise or particular items that people are looking for. Make it a discount, not a thing. In a flyer recently, a retailer offered a free pair of socks to anyone spending over R500 in their store over their three-day pre-Christmas sale. But what if you feel you have enough socks or that socks just aren't very Christmassy? They've lost you. Make sure your discount is worthwhile. Shoppers are used to being spoiled. So puny little 5, 10 or even 20 percent discounts aren't going to cut it unless you do something like a 20% off storewide sale. On individual items, the higher the discount the better. Shoppers will compare.
And advertise your sale heavily on the most appropriate marketing channels for your ideal customers; social media, newspapers, radio etc. People need to hear about it if they’re going to turn up!
2) Hold an event.
With the local shopping centres hosting all kinds of Christmas events - Carols, Lego Pits there is lots of entertainment for shoppers and their families with lots of opportunities to get their Christmas shopping done with extended shopping hours. There’s nothing to prevent you from holding an event of your own either. The trick is to create an event that will tie into your products or services in some way. For instance, a kitchen store could hold a cooking class and benefit from increased sales of the products used in the class. A yoga studio could hold a free class to encourage January signup – and offer gift certificates to encourage participants to spread the word. Put your thinking cap on and ask yourself, “Why would I go to that (event)?” (In other words, what’s the benefit to the customer? No benefit = no turnout.)
3) Use email campaigns.
Social media is hot. But email is effective. Neil Patel, founder of QuickSprout, says that “in spite of social media's viral potential, email still wins as the most disruptive method to reach and woo your customers” and points out that according to McKinsey, email marketing is three times more effective than social media, and the average customer order is 17% higher. Hopefully you’ve already got an email newsletter going out. It’s an ideal spot to promote the products or services you’re featuring over the Christmas season and spread the word about any sales or events you’re having. But don’t be afraid to send out separate emails as part of a marketing campaign either. The one bargain a day idea might work well for you as a daily email, for example.
Whatever email you send out to customers be sure to court them personally. Besides being sure to use the recipient's first name in the subject line, you could send customers special offers such as extra discounts just for them, buy-one-get-one-free deals not available to the general public, etc. The message is "you're special" - a hard message to resist.
4) Create an attractive window display
Take advantage of the extra foot traffic out during the holiday season by using an eye-catching, foot-stopping Christmas window display. Incorporating your products into your display is great if you can manage it, but what’s really great about a Christmas window display is that you don’t have to. A totally Christmas-themed display can work well.
What you want is something unique that’s going to draw the eye. And incorporating some kind of movement can really draw a crowd. Most important of all is to work your crowd. A bunch of people standing around watching a train go round or admiring your gorgeous arrangement of ornaments does nothing for your business. You have to bring them into your store. Try offering visitors a free hot drink and a cookie - seasonal and irresistible to most.
Invite Them & They Will Come
So there are four marketing ideas you can use to get more customers into your store over the holiday season so you can rack up more Christmas sales. There’s no reason why all five of them can’t be part of your Christmas season marketing plan.
But remember; whatever you do to create your own Christmas retail rush, you have to get the word out to your target market about what you’re doing. Send out that email, place those ads, use social media. Don’t let this Christmas season be a retail non-event for your business because you didn’t invite your customers to your store.
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